As the War Mercantilist Socialism economy continues its downward grind, one of the most important tasks for distributists is to ensure local food security. I see six important elements that work together to support local food security:
(1) preparing meals from basic ingredients,
(2) frugal supermarket shopping,
(4) food storage,
(5) home preservation of food,
(6) buying local foods.
My posts in The Distributist Review over the next couple months will look at each of these aspects in detail. Since it is hard to “order” these principles in terms of “most important”, I have listed them in a “functional” order. In other words, if you are coming at this brand new, this is probably the order of development for most households.
So lets begin at the beginning: preparing meals from basic ingredients.
Processed and packaged foods add money to the grocery bill, support large centralized food industries, and beggar the farmers while enriching transnational “agribidness” corporations. This is not a Distributist activity. Instead of buying the ersatz convenience of packaged foods—which are typically larded with extra fat, salt, sugar, and more chemicals than I am able to understand—a better idea is to prepare meals from basic ingredients. If you want bread — and who doesn’t — bake your own. Indeed, baking your own bread is one of the best places to start. Many people think that baking is some kind of a mysterious art that is complicated but that’s a kitchen myth. Here’s a link to the Better Times Almanac Bread page. And here’s a link to the easiest bread method ever—Artisan Bread Making in 5 Minutes, which is a no-knead method. Another excellent bread-learning site is Breadtopia , which also has short instructional videos on various bread recipes and focuses on no-knead recipes.
NB: If your family does not habitually eat whole wheat bread, then don’t start your bread making experience with whole wheat bread. You can add that later as your skills develop. Start where your family is, and if that means white bread, by all means bake your own white flour breads and biscuits.
The next trick to add to your Distributist “Slow Food” kitchen is making your own sauces, stocks, and gravies. Like bread-baking, this is considered much more mysterious than it really is. Here are links to the Better Times Almanac pages on sauces/gravies and making your own stock.
But doesn’t this take a lot of time? Well, all things have a learning curve. The first time you bake a loaf of bread or a pan of biscuits, it will take longer than it will once you have made 100 loaves of bread. If your first attempt isn’t the best, remember the advice of my grandmother Dovie Waldrop when I complained about the poor quality of my pie crusts. “Bobby Max, the reason you can’t make a good pie crust is because you haven’t made enough pies. When you have made 100 pies, I bet your pie crust is as good as mine.” Having made more than 100 pies, I don’t know that I would claim it was as good as hers, but they are good enough to serve to company.
I also use my freezer extensively to make my own convenience foods. If I am making bread, I don’t make one loaf, I make a bunch, and freeze most of the dough for cooking later. The various no-knead recipes make extra dough which is kept in the refrigerator and can be used every day! I make my own breakfast and lunch “pockets” and freeze them for fast eating later. If I am making beans or chili, I make a lot and freeze some for later. If I make a casserole, I make two and freeze one. I fry hamburger and package it in smaller packages for quick eating later. Etc., etc., etc. OK, so if this is hard to do at first— practice makes perfect! The more you practice, the better you will get, and your family will love the way your food develops.
Our War Mercantilist Socialist culture considers food merely as fuel. Any cultural or familial content has been emptied out and discarded as irrelevant to modern times. Food should be acquired as quickly and conveniently as possible, and taste and nutrition are in the back seat. And so it comes to pass that baking your own bread can become a truly revolutionary, as well as a culinary, delight.